Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beach Time

It is that time of the year when we pack our bags every other weekend or so, and drive down to the Jersey shore area to spend Fri night- Sun. morn at Ed's parents' house. The kids really love the ocean, so we usually spend a few hours there on Saturday. Although it is kind of a pain to pack up the car, drive 1/2 hour to get to the beach, and then haul all of our things across deep, hot sand, it is totally worth it to see the joy they have in splashing in the waves,

digging very large holes,

and swimming in the ocean.

And we have to admit, we like it too.

Shell Seekers

I thought I would enter this photo for the RAW(e) summertime challenge. As this is my first time, I am not sure I am doing this right but here is my photo that speaks "summer" to me (there were so many to choose from, it was hard to pick just one!)

Sunday, June 20, 2010


For the past 3 summers we have combined the kids' birthdays and thrown a joint family birthday party. This year we had a Fiesta!

I decorated with chili pepper lights on the patio, and a "Fiesta" banner that went around the tree grove in the middle of our yard. I also hung little paper lanterns to our mulberry tree to add to the festive feel, not because they were a part of the theme. As guests arrived, there was an assortment of Mexican sodas and fruit juices on the beverage table, and dip, salsa and guacamole on the patio table. This staved off their hunger as I was working madly in the kitchen with various guests who offered their services on arrival. We chopped lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and carrots for toppings. We cooked up ground beef for tacos, as well as chicken for fajitas. After about an hour and a half (oops, I guess I could have planned better and done some more prep work the day before!!) dinner was served.

Following dinner, the kids played a "musical sombrero" game which got a little aggressive at points (ripping the hat band off of one of the hats in one final struggle for the win). Unfortunately I
thought I purchased a CD with fiesta music when I placed my order with Oriental Trading for the banner, lights, and sombreros, but apparently I didn't make it into the order, so I ended up using a CD that didn't exactly fit thematically. I don't think they cared- they just wanted the silly bands that I was handing out as prizes!

After the sombrero game, the kids were ready for the pinata. We hit it in age order, starting with my 3 and then going from the youngest on up. It lasted until my 8 year old nephew Peter got a hold of the stick and ripped the poor donkey's head off!

We then sang Happy Birthday to the kids as they "pretended" to blow out the candles on their sombrero cake. The breeze prevented us from actually lighting them, and although N and E caught on, K looked a little confused "
What do you want me to blow out?".

After cake and presents, guests started to leave, and I turned to the monumental task of cleaning up. Yes, the parties are fun, but I am so glad we only do it once a year. That bouncy place is looking better and better to me!

Friday, June 18, 2010

End of the Year

I posted a status on facebook last week about the end of the school year always bringing a lump to my throat. It is exciting to have the summer ahead of us, but a part of me always gets a little sad at thinking that the year is over, the time my kids have with each teacher is done. Each year we have been blessed with fantastic teachers and our kids have really blossomed and grown. I was especially nervous about N and his teacher this year. Although I had heard wonderful things about him, part of me wanted N to have a woman teacher, to have that nurturing motherly influence.
first day of school

I have to say that Mr. F really did live up to all the hype. He was great with all the kids, and really taught them a lot. I am amazed at how much N learned. He barely knew his alphabet when he started, much less the sounds, no matter how much I worked with him. He can now read simple books, and write his "kid writing" stories.

I also love the relationship he formed with his teacher. Mr. F got a kick out N's personality, and actually did have a more tender side in caring for N when he was upset, hurt, or needed encouragement. It was neat to see the bond that formed between the two of them,
last full day of school

and I think I will miss having Mr. F teach N almost as much as N will.

As for E, she also had an awesome teacher who really pulled the class together, focusing on the team aspect of sharing a year together. E was able to let her gifts shine in academic areas, as well as experience growth in learning to be bold and speak out when needed. Every year E is sad at leaving her teacher behind, but this year was especially hard for her. I found her the morning of the last day of school under her covers, crying her eyes out. She loves her teacher so much, she hated to say good-bye. I really felt for her, and although it was hard to see her so sad, it is good because I know that she would always remember 3rd grade, and the impact this teacher had on her will last a lifetime. On a bright note, we think N might be placed with her next year, as she is moving down to first grade!

first day of 3rd grade

end of 3rd grade

Despite the initial melancholy over the year being over, we have all bounced back, and are ready to embrace the summer season with it's fireflies, pool trips, ice cream, late bed times, and days at the beach. Let the summer begin!